Wednesday, November 11, 2009

National security

Happy Veterans Day to all current and former members of the armed forces. Thank you for your service.

Did you catch this national news story late last week? A good article about this ran in the Lincoln Journal Star last Friday, but I can’t find the link at the moment. Basically, a group of retired military brass have formed a group called Mission: Readiness that is very similar to a coalition of law enforcement leaders I belong to called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. The generals have the same goal of convincing Americans of the value in supporting early childhood education, quality child care, and support for parenting.

Mission: Readiness released this report last week, revealing that 75% of young people between the ages of 17 and 24 are ineligible for military service due to a variety of issues. The top three reasons are inadequate education, criminal records and physical fitness issues such as obesity and asthma. One in four are high school dropouts. One in ten have acquired a disqualifying criminal conviction—or several. It is a national disgrace.

The retired generals, admirals, and civilian military leaders have concluded that the best way to ensure an adequate supply of qualified recruits is to support early childhood education. Several thousand of my fellow police chiefs, sheriffs, and chief prosecutors also believe that early childhood education is one of the best ways to fight crime.

Long term solutions are always a tough sell, but when your military and law enforcement leaders are united in an issue like this, it should cause citizens and decision-makers to sit up and take notice. It’s a matter of national security.


Anonymous said...

It all starts with the family. Many diverse and diffrent kinds of those today.
While we watch our national security, the real enemy slips in the back door.
Thank you, veterans, for giving us the right to free speach.

Anonymous said...

It's not surprising that so many are unfit for military service. I'm a vet and in mid-40s. When I went I went to boot camp at MCRD San Diego in the mid-80s, you could count on one hand the young men in my platoon that were...soft-looking. The vast majority looked as if they'd been athletically-active as a matter of habit or else as a result of organized sports participation, or at least hadn't made sitting on the couch and over-eating their hobby of choice. Yes, we had Atari back then.

When I was a teen, moderately obese peers were a not very common, and the fully obese were really a rarity. No longer; just drive by a public high school around dismissal time, and see all the well-fed livestock standing around. Mooooo!

Put down the Wii controller, kids, get up, go outside, and move! You're not not a bear, and thus you're not doing yourself any favors by storing a hundred pounds of fat for winter (and every other season, it seems).

Tom Casady said...


Good observation. We really have two separate issues here, I think: obesity and related health issues, which calls for one set of strategies; and academic failure and criminal conduct, which calls for another. I don't know if there is any link between early childhood education and health outcomes, but there is a large body of research on its impact on academic performance, graduation rates, and pro-social behavior.

Anonymous said...


True, but it's a shame that schools are expected to do more and more parenting and early-education these days, just because the people who should be doing it are falling short. When in junior high and high school in the late 70s and early 80s, single-parent families were a rarity among my peers. By way of disclosure, I attended parochial schools, not public schools. It was uncommon for any of my friends or acquaintances to not live with their married, biological parents. It was also uncommon for any of us to be "latchkey" kids, having free run of the home between dismissal and the end of our parents' workday; there are few things you can do after dark that you can't do at 4pm when your parent won't be home for an hour or so.

Trevor Brass said...

What is the point of selective service if you can only select 25% of the population?

If there ever is a draft in the future, burning draft cards and other hoogalinism won't be necessary: just hold on to your X-Box controller for dear life!

Steve said...

I've always been a firm believer that all kids should spend at least two years in the military (or perhaps some other public service) right after high school. I don't think it matters if they graduate, or drop out. They'll learn what they need to learn once they get in boot camp. If they can't read or add, they may end up doing all the KP or digging trenches, but that's their own fault. If they already have criminal records at that point, they can serve just as well on a chain gang (still doing public service).

Anonymous said...

The military's about courage and proof of love of our country. It's much more than being soft or raised wrong. At least some tried to get in and failed. Others are just too good to try. Yes TB & S